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The Really Old Bali Blog (2013-2015) « Dutch colonial massacres in Indonesia from 1945-1949, and compensation from Holland [Updated 2020]

13 Sep, 2013: The Kingdom of Holland conveniently decides to compensate relatives of thousands that they murdered while losing their grip on the ex-colony from 1945-1949 – some seventy years later.

Well, putting it off really paid off.

Ten women from South Sulawesi aged between 80-100 were awarded 20,000 euros for their husbands' heads by the visiting Dutch foreign minister – out of a conservative 1,500-5,000 murdered by Dutch Captain Westerling's brutal Special Forces, the Depot Speciale Troepen.

In something akin to the US 'pacification' of villages during the Vietnam War, Captain Raymond Westerling's method was execution on the spot.

Dutch Captain Raymond Westerling – and 'The Westerling Method'

According to Westerling, pacifying Sulawesi without losing thousands of innocent lives could only be achieved by instituting summary justice – killing on the spot.

This became known as 'The Westerling Method'.

Based on information received from his own informants or from the Dutch military intelligence service, members of the DST would surround one or more suspect villages during the night, after which they would drive the population to a central location.

At daybreak, the operation would begin. Men would be separated from women and children. From information obtained through spying and intimidation, Westerling would expose certain people as terrorists and murderers.

They were shot without any further investigation.

Afterwards, Westerling would install a new village leader and set up a village police force – and all present would have to swear on the Koran that they would not follow the path of the 'terrorists'.

Nicknamed 'The Turk', Westerling was born to a Greek mother and a Dutch antique-dealer father in Istanbul. Trained by British Commandos, he never saw combat during the entire Second World War – instead joining the KNIL in 1945 in its bootless attempt to bring Dutch rule back to Indonesia.

Within a few months, Gezagvoerder Westerling had found his stride – spurning the Field Service Manual for a coal-black page out of Conrad:

'We planted a stake in the middle of the village and on it we impaled the head of Terakan. Beneath it we nailed a polite warning to the members of his band that if they persisted in their evil-doing, their heads would join his.'

Some put the three-month-long, 1946-'47 murder binge in South Sulawesi at 40,000.

The Westerling Massacres weren't the only cases of out-of-control slaughter in VOC- and Dutch colonial-ruled Indonesia.

Among others, 13,000-15,000 on the Banda Islands in 1621; 10,000 Chinese in Jakarta in 1740; 46 cooked to death on the Bondowoso Death Train, or 'Gerbong maut' in 1947; and 430 slaughtered in Rawagede, West Java, also in 1947 – only ten of their relatives were compensated, too.

More surviving relatives are being asked by the Dutch government to step up and apply for their 20 grand online.

But how many 100-year-old nenek-nenek kampung – village grannies – have you seen tapping away at their iPads recently?


Compensation update: March 2020

The more time that slides by, the less the Dutch government seems willing to pay out. It won't be long before 1 Head = €1.

From The Guardian: 'Hague court orders Dutch state to pay out over colonial massacres' [27 March, 2020].

'Andi Monji, 83 – an Indonesian man forced to watch his father's summary execution by a Dutch soldier when he was 10 years old – was awarded €10,000, while eight widows and three children of other executed men, mainly farmers, were awarded compensation of between €123.48 and €3,634 for loss of income.'

Monji's father was executed on the 28th of January 1947, in the village of Suppa. More than 200 men are believed to have been executed by the Dutch military that day.'

Imagine being paid €123.48 for the murder of your farmer-dad. "Well, he wouldn't have amounted to much, m'lud; never did get a very big crop, and he always got the planting season wrong..."

And how the blinding fvck did they calculate the 48 cents? Was that for one of his arms?


Related Content: Jan Coen and the Dutch VOC at play in the East Indies ~ Murder and monopoly

The Dutch VOC – led by infamous Jan Pieterszoon Coen – had the 17th century's East Indian spice trade almost to themselves.

Map of Maronde VOC trading post near Batavia (Jakarta), West Java, Indonesia

Map of Maronde VOC trading post near Batavia (Jakarta), West Java, Indonesia.

For a band of men intent on creating enormous wealth at any cost – and given no political or moral limitations by shareholders back home as to how they achieved it – the 17th and 18th centuries were carte blanche for the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie.

Coen's Dutch East India Company had free reign to sign treaties, mint coins, imprison or execute at will, maintain private armies, wage wars, pass laws, build forts and seize land.

The survey map of Meester Cornelis' VOC trading post in Dutch Indonesia

'Plan uder Grundrifs des Posts Meister Cornelis gennant, drey Stund von Batavia gelgen.'
The survey map of Mister Cornelis' VOC trading post, Indonesia.

But the newly-formed VOC had a thorn in its side.

In 1604, a British East India Company fleet sailed to the sources of spice in Ternate, Tidore, Ambon and Banda – and by 1617 they had set up trading posts from Kalimantan to Sumatra – in direct competition with the Dutch East Indies Company.

The Dutch reply was brutal.

Coen and his men ransacked the West Javanese port-town of Jayakarta in 1619, renamed it Batavia (later Jakarta) and established their new VOC headquarters from its smoking ruins. The Batavian Chinese Massacre of 1740 was still to take place, 121 years later.

On the other side of Indonesia, Coen had also quickly recognised the importance of the Banda Islands as the only place in the world that grew the highly precious nutmeg tree – the trader's holy grail of nutmeg and mace.

First, he routed and tortured the small band of British traders on the tiny island of Run – after introducing the concept of water-boarding to the world. And after signing a deceptive agreement with local sultans in 1621 to secure the rest of the Banda Islands, he solidified his sovereignty by ordering the executions of 14,000 men, women and children across the Banda Islands.


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